We were on a National Geographic Expedition tour, cool huh? We had the best guide ever. His name is Aki and he knew everything there is to know about Egypt. He made learning so much fun and told us lots of stories about the pharaohs and ancient Egyptian gods.
One of the first things we did was go to the three great pyramids in Giza. We took lots of pictures and looked at how huge the boulders were that they used to build the pyramids. Each of the 3,000,000 rocks were bigger than me!
Right near the three great pyramids, we got to see a new archeological site that's being excavated. This was where all of the workers who built the pyramids lived. Some workers were buried there and Ty and I got to help uncover a skeleton they found a couple of weeks ago.
That was really awesome. We got to use a brush to push away the sand so we could see the skull, just like real archaeologists.
We also went on a cruise boat down the Nile, which is the biggest river in the world. But we did not do the whole thing. We were on the boat for three days and sailed from Aswan to Luxor. Luxor is where the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens are. While we were there, we went to the tomb of King Tut! Yeah!
King Tut's tomb was so cool, but the one thing that surprised me was how small it was. Before we came to Luxor, we saw all of King Tut's treasure at the Cairo Museum and there was lots of it. I was so amazed after we went to the tomb that all of the treasure we saw at the museum could have fit in such a small tomb. They kind of just threw everything into a big pile. Since King Tut died so young they didn't have a lot of time to get his tomb ready. One really cool thing Aki told us was to make sure we noticed that the walls were just painted and not carved like the walls in all the other pharaoh's tombs because they didn't have time to carve it.
King Tut died when he was only 19. It's now believed he died from a leg infection even though some people think he was killed by the high priests. When they examined the mummy, there was a hole in his head, so some people thought that's how we died. Aki told us the hole was probably caused by Howard Carter, the man who discovered the tomb. Howard Carter really wanted the golden mask, but the mask was glued and stuck on the mummy. The mummy actually got badly damaged when he tried to remove the mask, which we got to see when we went into his tomb. We were not allowed to take pictures though.
I really like King Tut, but my favorite is Horus. Horus is the falcon god of ancient Egypt. We went to a temple that was built to honor Horus, who was the god of the sky. It was so cool because it had so many huge doorways, pictures and hieroglyphics around it. I thought it was the coolest thing because there were statues and pictures of my favorite Egyptian god all over the place.
Another cool thing we did in Egypt was go to a papyrus shop where they showed us how the ancient Egyptians made paper.
They take the stem of the papyrus plant and peel all the green off and the stem that's left is shaped like a pyramid, which the Egyptians thought was lucky. Then they cut the stem into strips and squeeze all the juice out of them with a roller (like you would use to make cookies with). Then they would put the strips in a bucket for a few days to get all gooey. After that, they laid the strips on top of each other in a criss-cross pattern and put that into a press. In a few days they opened the press to take out the dried paper. Both Tyler and I got a painting on papyrus with our names written in cartouche, which is what they call it when they spell out your name using hieroglyphics.
That will be a cool thing to have to remember our great time in Egypt!